Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Everybodies Motives for being a part of Europe

It struck me whilst writing my earlier blog, on the EUs agenda, that all the different countries have different motives for wanting to be a part of Europe.

For the UK, we had a referendum in 1974 to join Europe, and our primary aim was and still is to be able to trade and prosper economically within the markets that are geographically so close to us.

Portugal at that time was fresh out of civil war; that saw its Angolan colony given independence that lead to their own 30 years civil war.

Equally Spain was also coming to the end of 50 years of Franco's dictatorship which started as a means of preventing the communists gaining power in Spain, this dictatorship then confirmed its faschist tendencies with alignment  with Hitler and Mussolini but remained neutral during WWII and latterly was regarded more as a benevolent paternal dictatorship that was looking for a transition into  democracy over its last 10 years.

Greece at that time was also ruled by the Army Colonels.

In contrast to these three, the UK had enjoyed and benefited from hundreds of years of progressive and peaceful development of its own democracy. I do recognise, however, that it could be argued by some that the progressive development of democracy and self determination by the countries belonging to the declining British Empire were far from peaceful developments, such as in India. However, the attraction of the EU for the UK has never been driven by any yearning for obtaining greater political stability and development that some countries have sought through membership.

Countries in the East that have joined recently also have a desire to seek integration into Western Europe as a means of distancing themselves from Russian  influence, although interestingly Poland has not yet joined the Euro, unlike others even though there is a requirement to commit to joining as soon as possible.

Germany; I have read the the German's motivation for being an integral part of  the devopment of the EU was to allow it to be reintegrated in to the world community more easily following the WWI and WWII.

France; what is their motivation ? It probably started out with motives of ensuring that Europe never went to war with it itself, by tying in Germany to an economic framework that nulled historic nationalistic outlooks for a broader European outlook. I am not sure to be honest. I do sometimes think that France is very good at driving Europe as an extension of its own Foreign Policy agenda. I.e. Driving and setting the agenda for Europe, for its own benefit, and probably being very successful at it. An early example in the Seventies and Eighties the Common Agricultural Policy featured prominently. Did it want the Euro! Probably, yes, as it was one of the main countries to join at the outset. Curently though they might be struggling with the contrainsts this places on them. Their economy seems to be struggling to gather momentum. What if the Euro currency project did collapse? Where would this leave France, in terms of its ability to drive the EU agenda?

The  three pillars of the EU that i mentioned in an earlier blog are a reflection of all these demands and expectations required by member states.

A judicial framework , an economic framework (currently being packaged within a Euro currency that requires deeper political union); and a foreign policy framework.

Where the UK struggles , is that we see the need for only one of these, the ability to trade within an economic framework. But we don't want to lose our national sovereignity. We don't see the benefit of doing this. But others have the need for something else in addition. Do the Greeks want to stay in the Euro because they question their governments ability to manage their ecomomy properly?

Do all these countries really want to surrender their national governments to larger a United States of Europe, that has a central government formed from the EU parliament? A central government that sets taxation.

In many respects France and Germany have been the drivers for ever closer union

Britain is not driving it, it has generally been trying to resist lots of things, in my opinion. It has not really been driving or influencing the EU agenda, merely selecting or deselecting aspects of it, such as the Schengen agreement where people move around the continent without any passport controls/checks.

If we voted NO, what would be the impact on others in Europe? Now there is another topic for a blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments that are specific to an open and constructive debate about the UK EU Referendum will be both welcome and published. Thank you for the interest shown.